HomeChampions LeagueLuis Enrique: I embody Barcelona better than Xavi

Luis Enrique: I embody Barcelona better than Xavi

-

Luis Enrique says he, and not Xavi, better embodies the philosophy of Barcelona.

The pair will meet as coaches for the first time tomorrow night when Luis Enrique’s Paris Saint-Germain host Xavi’s Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

Read our other football news stories here:
Eric Dier: I should still be part of the England squad
Benfica deny Mourinho rumours
Tuchel says season is still alive for struggling Bayern

Barca have not won Europe’s elite club competition since 2015 when Luis Enrique was coach and an ageing Xavi came off the bench late on for the Blaugrana in their 3-1 win over Juventus in Berlin.

And even though Xavi was brought up at La Masia – Barca’s famed school for educating young players – the PSG boss believes his record of nine trophies in three seasons compared to Xavi’s two gives him the edge.

Asked today who best represented the spirit of Barca, an unusually forthright Luis Enrique told reporters: “No doubt me.

“I’m not just saying it. You can see the data: possession of the ball, goals, pressure, titles, trophies. Obviously others think differently but no doubt, I am the one who best represents Barça.”

Luis Enrique played down suggestions his knowledge of the Catalan giants would give PSG an advantage at the Parc des Princes.

He added: “I don’t know Xavi as a coach, only as a team-mate. I know the club and the players very well, but I don’t know if that constitutes an advantage.

“On an emotional level, it’s a great experience, but I feel ready. It’s a job: you have to be professional. I like Barça but I think of my team above all. I think both teams will try to press and keep possession.”

The Champions League remains the Holy Grail for PSG, who have never won the competition despite huge investment from the club’s Qatari owners.

Luis Enrique said: “I think the group is in a good state of mind. This is a good period for us. We don’t feel any pressure, more ambition.

“We are very excited about qualifying for the next round. The enthusiasm of the team is the main feeling. We want to play and beat Barça.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

LATEST POSTS

Sacked West Ham coaches ‘didn’t have a clue’ about ‘shocking’ exit – Nolan

David Moyes' coaching staff discovered "out of the blue" about their West Ham departures a day after the season ended, Kevin Nolan has said. Former Hammers...

Cristiano Ronaldo: Euro 2024 selection puts Portugal captain on brink of new football records

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to set more records after the European Championship golden boot holder was selected by Portugal for Uefa Euro 2024. The...

Jose Mourinho ‘starts talks with Besiktas’ as Turkish giants target ex-Roma manager

Jose Mourinho has asked for talks with Besiktas after the Turkish giants made an approach which met his financial demands, the club's vice-president has said. Two-time...

Ten Hag says football is ‘all about trophies’ as Manchester United prepare for FA Cup final

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said football is "all about trophies" after his side rounded off their Premier League campaign with a win. The Red...

Most Popular